The Third Reason Not To Smoke (Continued)

Now more dangerous than ever

As if it weren't bad enough that you and your family are living in a toxic waste dump, the latest research shows that Third Hand Smoke is more than just a passive danger: it's a perverted version of the Phoenix—the mythical bird that goes up in smoke and comes back to life. The bulk of Third Hand Smoke is nicotine residue, and when this residue is exposed to nitrous acid in the air, courtesy of car exhaust and gas appliances, it metamorphosizes into the tongue-twisting carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines, or TSNAs.

TSNAs are bad news, widely considered the most potent carcinogen in tobacco smoke. Mental refresher: "carcinogen" is a fancy word for something that gives you cancer. We don't want no carcinogens.

Anyway, once the nicotine residue and the nitrous acid complete their mating dance to become TSNA, the Third Hand Smoke grows wings. It becomes airborne again.

Yeah. The cigarette just frickin' relit itself.

Now in the air once more, months after the cigarette that gave birth to it was stubbed out, the scentless born-again carcinogen is free to wreak new havoc. It can be inhaled by anyone in the household. The smoker. The smoker's spouse. The family dog. The smoker's baby.

And this newly reborn cigarette smoke is, in its way, even more wicked than the original. The particles are smaller. They can get deeper into the lungs than the original TSNA in the burning cigarette.

But that's not the only way the TSNA invades.

Other openings for trouble

Not only can you inhale a lung-full, or two, or ten, of TSNA. You can accidentally eat it, too. The newly free-floating TSNAs can, like the original fallout of the cigarette, settle onto any surface. Including your chicken nuggets. Or the nuggets of your near and dear.

TSNAs can also get into your body through your skin, the so-called dermal route. One if by land, two if by sea… three if by air? Third Hand Smoke is a tough customer.

So there you have it. Three good reasons to kick the habit. First Hand Smoke puts you at risk for cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and more. Second Hand Smoke can kill your innocent bystander loved ones. And Third Hand Smoke can turn your home and car into a toxic waste dump that can poison everyone who enters it.


Wil Dubois is the author of four multi-award-winning books about diabetes. He is a PWD type 1, and is the diabetes coordinator for a rural non-profit clinic. Visit his blog, LifeAfterDX.

Read more of Wil Dubois' columns here

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.


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Last Modified Date: June 05, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...
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